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Cementing our place in space

As your dog drags you around the block for his morning walk, you're probably not thinking about the wonders of the neighborhood sidewalk. But that concrete is pretty great. Next to water, it's the most widely used material ...

Self-healing cement could transform geothermal industry

A self-healing cement developed by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory can outperform conventional concrete, offering a potentially pollution-preventing technology for the growing geothermal industry.

Preventing concrete bridges from falling apart

Extremes of temperature, rain, exposure to corrosive substances—all of these environmental factors contribute to the degradation of concrete. Specifically, a gas present in our environment, called hydrogen sulphide, turns ...

How can we reduce the environmental cost of cement?

Look around you and you will likely see cement in use. That is, unless you are reading this on a mobile device out in an entirely natural landscape – in which case, stop and enjoy your surroundings!

Spheres can make concrete leaner, greener

Rice University scientists have developed micron-sized calcium silicate spheres that could lead to stronger and greener concrete, the world's most-used synthetic material.

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Cement

In the most general sense of the word, a cement is a binder, a substance which sets and hardens independently, and can bind other materials together. The word "cement" traces to the Romans, who used the term "opus caementicium" to describe masonry which resembled concrete and was made from crushed rock with burnt lime as binder. The volcanic ash and pulverized brick additives which were added to the burnt lime to obtain a hydraulic binder were later referred to as cementum, cimentum, cäment and cement. Cements used in construction are characterized as hydraulic or non-hydraulic.

The most important use of cement is the production of mortar and concrete - the bonding of natural or artificial aggregates to form a strong building material which is durable in the face of normal environmental effects.

Cement should not be confused with concrete because the term cement explicitly refers to the dry powder substance. Upon the addition of water and/or additives the cement mixture is referred to as concrete, especially if aggregates have been added.

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